Medicare Payment – Relief But No Reversal


Last week, Congress took significant action by enacting a spending package to fund the federal government.  There was, however, a significant omission in the $460B spending bill– a reversal of the 3.37% Medicare physician payment cut for 2024.  Rather than eliminating the cut, as the NC Medical Society and our partner medical societies had lobbied for, Congress instead reduced the pay reduction by 1.68%. This adjusted rate will apply to Medicare claims going forward and will not be retroactive to the first of the year.

The NCMS and collaborating stakeholders have been active and aggressive in fighting the pay reduction since CMS announced the 2024 fee schedule on November 2, 2023.  The payment reduction for 2024 comes on the heels of a 2% cut in 2023 and is exacerbated by a projected 4.6% increase in medical practice operational costs for 2024.  Meanwhile, hospitals received positive consideration by delaying cuts in their Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments along with additional payment extensions.

Those who have weighed in with our members of Congress over the past several months deserve a big, Thank You.  You have helped amplify our message that declining rates of reimbursement are unsustainable, especially when Medicaid and commercial insurers use the Medicare physician fee schedule as a primary index for setting their payment schedules.

The fight continues. 

Each of our state’s House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill has been made aware of our displeasure over the insufficient consideration that physicians caring for Medicare patients received in the funding package.  They have been informed on numerous occasions about payment reductions’ negative impact on practice viability and seniors’ access to care; and that message will continue. There are pending measures in the House and Senate which would revise the Medicare payment formula by implementing an automatic inflationary adjustment, a consideration already granted to other providers.  Another proposal would adjust the parameters which trigger required “budget neutrality,” thereby allowing physician payment adjustments without requiring budget offsets.

Have you shared the impact of the Medicare payment cut with your member of Congress?  If not and you’d be willing to share your story, please indicate your willingness by email. Your patients’ voices would be impactful as well.  We would be pleased to help connect you with those who represent you on Capitol Hill.

Do you know your state and federal legislators? More importantly, do your legislators know you?
The NCMS can help you connect with policy makers as a constituent and advocate!